Why the Los Angeles Lakers Are Still Favorites in the Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers fans and haters: Calm down. Just stop.

It’s November.

Relax. The Lakers are just 15 games into an 82-game extended preseason in preparation for the playoffs. The team is 5.5 games back with 67 games to play.

Los Angeles is going to be fine, and the super team will likely still represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

Settle down. Championships are not won before the New Year, and they aren’t lost before December.

Are you breathing yet?

The Lakers still have absurd, veteran talent that will come together.

Kobe Bryant is leading the league in scoring at 27.7 points per game and is doing so on 50 percent shooting, the highest mark of any guard who scores 20 or more points per game.

Dwight Howard is the best center in a league void of great centers. Howard is scoring 17.9 points on just under 60 percent shooting and he’s grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game. And he is still not the elite, athletic defensive player he is capable of being as he continues to come back from a serious back surgery.

So what’s wrong with the Lakers and their 7-8 record?

Other than hypercritical assaults from a network of keyboard assailants, it’s honestly just basketball. Don’t let the big picture be imprisoned by this brief period of mediocrity.

The same thing happened in LeBron James’s first season with the Miami Heat when the team started 8-7 in November. They ended up making the Finals.

More proof? The Oklahoma City Thunder closed last season with a 7-7 record in the team’s last 14 games before tearing through the playoffs and into the Finals. That’s just a half-game better than this Lakers team has started in November.

It’s not a hunch. There are trends in sports, and throughout the years they become easy to spot. The Vegas oddsmakers know that, and t...

About the Author